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Parshas Vayishlach - Shishi with Rashi

We are finishing what happened starting at the beginning of last week’s parsha. Yaakov ran away from Eisav, and on the way he had a dream where Hashem promised to take care of him, and Yaakov promised to do things for Hashem. On the way back, he had the problem with Dina because he hadn’t done those things yet, and now he reached the place where he first had the dream, and is keeping his promise. In today’s Chumash, Hashem is in the middle of speaking to Yaakov there and giving him more brachos before he comes into Eretz Yisroel.

Hashem finishes talking to Yaakov: Hashem promised Yaakov that he would get Eretz Yisrael, and then finished talking to Yaakov. Yaakov built a matzeivah there out of stone. He poured wine and oil on it as a present to Hashem, to keep his promise. Then Yaakov said again that this place is called Beis Keil, the house of Hashem.

Rachel has a baby: They traveled to Chevron, and didn’t reach Efras yet, when it was time for Rachel to have a baby. It was very hard for her, and the midwife (who helps mothers to have babies) told her not to be afraid because she was going to have another baby boy! She had triplets, a boy and two girls!

Rachel passes away: But Rachel passed away right after the babies were born. She called the baby boy “Ben-Oni” which means the son of my sadness. Yaakov, though, called him Benyamin, meaning “son of the south,” since he was the only one born in Eretz Yisrael, which is south from Padan Aram (where Yaakov was with Lavan before).

Rachel was buried by the road going to Efras, also called Beis Lechem. Yaakov could have buried her in Me’aras Hamachpeila, which isn’t so far away, but Hashem told him to bury Rachel by the road so when the Yidden go into Golus they will pass by her kever. When Rochel sees them going into Golus, she will cry to Hashem to have rachmonus on her children, and Hashem will promise that they will come back to Eretz Yisroel in her zechus.

Now that Rochel passed away, where should Yaakov keep his bed? It used to be in Rochel’s tent. Yaakov decided to move into Bilhah’s tent, since Rochel told Yaakov to marry her, and she was Rochel’s helper.

Reuven moves his father’s bed: Reuven was very upset. He felt that Yaakov should move into Leah’s tent, since she is Rochel’s sister, and Bilhah is only her helper. So he moved Yaakov’s bed without permission. Since it wasn’t Kibbud Av Va’em to move his father’s bed, Yaakov was upset and told Reuven what he did wrong, and he did teshuvah right away.

The Shevatim: Now that Binyamin was born, there were 12 sons:
From Leah: Reuven, Shimon, Levi, Yehudah, Yissachar, Zevulun
From Rochel: Yosef and Binyomin
From Bilhah: Dan and Naftali
From Zilpah: Gad and Asher

Each of the shevatim (except Yehuda and Yosef) married the twin sisters born to the other shevatim. (If you remember, two of the shevatim had 2 triplet sisters — Shimon and Binyamin. So 4 of the shevatim married two wives. Shimon also married Dina.) Before Matan Torah, it was a good thing for brothers and sisters to marry each other. After Matan Torah it became Asur.

We will go back later to talk about Yaakov’s family, but first the Torah will tell us about the end of Yitzchak’s life and about Eisav’s family.

Yitzchak passes away: In the year 2208, Yaakov came to his father Yitzchak in Chevron (Elonei Mamrei / Kiryat Arba). Yitzchak lived for 180 years, longer than his father Avraham who lived 175 years. Twenty years after Yaakov came back to Chevron, Yitzchak passed away, and Eisav and Yaakov buried him in Me’aras Hamachpeila.

Eisav’s family: The Torah tells us about Eisav’s family. (Eisav is also called “Edom.”) First the Torah tells us in short about Eisav’s wives and children.

Once Yaakov came back to Chevron, Eisav moved away to Har Seir. He took his family and all of his things, so he wouldn’t be too close to Yaakov, since there wasn’t enough land to feed all of their animals in the same place. (Really, Eisav could have told Yaakov to go live somewhere else, since Eisav was there first. But Eisav knew that if he gets Eretz Yisrael he will have to get Golus, and he didn’t want that. He was also embarrassed about selling the bechora, so he preferred to leave than to argue about staying.)

At the end of today’s Chumash, the Torah starts to tell us the names and the heads of the families of the children of Eisav.



88 - 89

Today’s shiur of Tehillim are kapitelach Pey-Ches and Pey-Tes.

In today’s Tehillim, there is a posuk that says “Asher Cherfu Oivecha Hashem, Asher Cherfu Ikvos Meshichecha.” “Your enemies have disgraced You, Hashem; they have disgraced the footsteps of the one You anointed.”

Many years ago, the Rebbe Rashab started the Yeshivah of Tomchei Temimim. The Rebbe Rashab farbrenged with the bochurim, explaining what their avodah was as Temimim. Three years after Tomchei Temimim was started, the Rebbe Rashab said a very famous sicha that starts with the words “Kol Hayotzei Lemilchemes Beis Dovid.”

In this sicha, he told the Temimim that there are two types of people that the Temimim need to overcome, because they are dangerous for the Yidden. They are both hinted to in this posuk!

1) Asher Cherfu Oivecha Hashem — Those that don’t want other people to believe in Hashem or keep Torah and mitzvos. They make fun of them, and say that Yidden don’t need it chas veshalom.

2) Asher Cherfu Ikvos Meshichecha — Yidden who DO keep Torah and mitzvos, but say that you don’t need to talk about Moshiach or get excited that Moshiach is coming.

The Yeshiva bochurim have to fight a war with these two kinds of people. And how do they fight it? Not with mussar or arguments, but with teaching Chassidus and strengthening the emunah that Moshiach is about to come!

Many years later, in a farbrengen with Chassidim, the Rebbe said that this sicha that the Rebbe Rashab said is now important for every Yid! We need to know that whenever we meet another Yid, we might think that it was for one reason or another. But the real reason is so we can share a few words of Chassidus and share the excitement that Moshiach is coming very soon!

See sicha of Chof Cheshvan, Tof-Shin-Mem-Hey (video excerpt)



Kuntres Acharon Siman Tes

Mazel Tov! Today we are learning the very last piece of Tanya! We are making a siyum on the whole sefer!

In this letter, the Alter Rebbe gives certain takanos in davening and learning.

One thing is about being careful with kavana when we daven. We need to find a good chazan who will daven properly — saying the words clearly, not too fast and not too slow, not too loud and not too quiet.

The Alter Rebbe also asks Chassidim to each take a piece of Gemara to learn, so that together we learn the whole Shas each year and in every city! Everyone should choose one mesechta (book of Gemara) to learn. (This is a minhag we still do today, called Chalukas Hashas. We split it up beginning Yud-Tes Kislev.)

The Alter Rebbe says that those who are part of Chalukas Hashas should say Kapitel Kuf-Yud Tes every week.

The Alter Rebbe also gives a hora’ah about teshuvah: Since it is hard to fast as part of teshuvah, the Alter Rebbe gives another way to do teshuvah — to know the halachos of Shabbos very well! It says in Torah that someone who knows Hilchos Shabbos well is forgiven for all of his aveiros!

We should also be careful to only say Shabbosdik and Torah’dik things on Shabbos, which is a deeper way of resting on Shabbos properly.

The last word of the entire sefer of Tanya is “chulu,” which means “etc.” That means that there is more that should be said about it. The Rebbe tells us that this hints to us that there is always more for us to understand in Tanya, so we need to go back to the beginning and learn the Tanya again!



Yud-Ches Kislev

Today’s Hayom Yom is also a siyum on the entire sefer of Hayom Yom!

The Rebbe brings that we don’t say Tachanun in Mincha today, because it is Erev Yud-Tes Kislev.

Why does a Yid do a mitzvah? There could be many reasons!

In today’s Hayom Yom we learn what the Tzemach Tzedek writes about a special kind of love for Hashem that will make a Yid want to do mitzvos: A Yid can think about how everything that Hashem created — the Gashmius world and EVEN Gan Eden and Olam Haba (where the neshama can feel Hashem!) is only created from the letters of Hashem’s name, and is not the etzem of Hashem.

When a person thinks about that, he realizes that he doesn’t want anything else that Hashem created, he just wants Hashem Himself! And how does he get Hashem Himself? By doing a mitzvah.

That is a very high level of Ahavas Hashem, called the ahava of “Imcha Lo Chafatzti!”

The Alter Rebbe himself served Hashem this way. Many times, when the Alter Rebbe was in dveikus, feeling very excited when thinking about Hashem, he would say, “I want nothing! I don’t want Your Gan Eden, I don’t want Your Olam Haba, I only want You!”

The Rebbe told us many times that even though this is what the Alter Rebbe did, and nobody can say that our Avodas Hashem is just like his, all of us can do it too, at least in some little way.

At the end of the Hayom Yom, the Frierdiker Rebbe added (in some Hayom Yoms, you can see it in the Frierdiker Rebbe’s handwriting!):

Gut Yom Tov! Leshana Tova Belimud Hachassidus Uvedarkei Hachassidus Tikoseivu Veseichaseimu! You should be written and sealed for a good year in learning Chassidus and acting the way it teaches!



Shiur #148 - Mitzvas Lo Saasei #79, #80

Today we learn two mitzvos about the Mizbeiach:

1) (Mitzvas Lo Saasei #79) We are not allowed to make the Mizbeiach out of stones that were cut with iron.

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Yisro: לֹא תִבְנֶה אֶתְהֶן גָּזִית כִּי חַרְבְּךָ הֵנַפְתָּ עָלֶיהָ וַתְּחַלֲלֶהָ

The details are explained in Mesechta Midos perek Gimmel.

2) (Mitzvas Lo Saasei #80) We are not allowed to go up to the Mizbeiach with steps, only with a ramp.

We learn this mitzvah from a posuk in Parshas Yisro: וְלֹא תַעֲלֶה בְמַעֲלֹת עַל מִזְבְּחִי וְגוֹ׳

The details are explained in Mesechta Midos perek Gimmel.



Hilchos Beis HaBechirah

In today's Rambam, we learn about parts of the Beis Hamikdash!

Perek Beis: This perek teaches us about the Mizbeiach.

Perek Gimmel: We learn about the Menorah, the Shulchan, the Mizbeiach HaZahav, and the Kiyor.

Perek Daled: This perek has the measurements of the Heichal! It also tells us that when Shlomo Hamelech built the first Beis Hamikdash, he knew it would be destroyed. He had tunnels made underground to hide the Aron. Before the Churban, the king Yoshiyahu ordered that the Aron be hidden underground. We will take it out again for the Beis Hamikdash Hashlishi!



Hilchos Shevisas Asor - Perek Beis

Today we learn the halachos about fasting on Yom Kippur.

One thing the Rambam says is that a kid that isn’t nine years old yet shouldn’t fast on Yom Kippur because it might bring to a sakana. After turning nine, kids can practice by fasting for an hour longer than they are used to waiting before they eat.



Yud-Tes Kislev

In the beginning of the Hayom Yom, before the first day of Yud-Tes-Kislev, there is a part of a letter from the Rebbe Rashab. We start learning Hayom Yom from this letter!

In it, the Rebbe Rashab writes that Yud-Tes Kislev is the Rosh Hashana for Chassidus.

Here are some of the reasons why:

1) On Rosh Hashana, the world is judged. Hashem decides how much bracha each person will get, and how much chayus the world will get.

On Yud-Tes-Kislev, the world is also judged! Hashem decides how much Chassidus each person will get, and how much chayus it will bring in their Avodas Hashem.

2) On Rosh Hashana, Adam Harishon was born, and the important work of making the world into a Dira Betachtonim could start.

On Yud-Tes-Kislev, it was decided in Shomayim that Chassidus could be shared with everyone! Now, the important work of getting the world ready for Moshiach through Pnimius HaTorah, the teachings of Chassidus, is able to happen.

3) On Rosh Hashana, it is a special time to accept Hashem as our King, Kabolas Ol Malchus Shomayim. We decide that we will make sure that everything in our life is done the way Hashem wants.

On Yud-Tes-Kislev, it is a special time to accept that we will live the way Chassidus teaches. We decide that we are ready to do what Hashem wants us to, with the right kavana, the way Chassidus teaches.


On Rosh Hashana, right after Maariv, we wish each other Leshana Tova Tikoseiv Veseichaseim, that we should be written down for a good year. On Yud-Tes Kislev, we wish each other that Hashem should help that we should have hatzlacha in learning Chassidus and acting like a chossid. And the more we bentch others, the more Hashem will bentch us to have the same!

Over Yom Tov, make sure to wish others “Leshana Tova Belimud Hachassidus Uvedarkei Hachassidus!”


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How Davening Changes Our Day

The Chachomim say that a person who is davening has to have his heart above and his eyes below! (“Hamispalel Tzorich Sheyihiyeh Libo Lemaala Ve’einav Lematah.”)

The Alter Rebbe explains that this means that even when someone feels close and connected to Hashem, he still needs to remember the way he is during the rest of the day.

The Rebbe teaches us that practically this means that a person can’t walk away from davening only feeling inspired and Ruchniyus’dik. We ALSO need to use the time of davening to make general hachlatos for the day about how we should act in our “regular” work, like eating and exercise and playing and working.

Then, later in the day, we can think about what we’re doing, and if we’re acting the way we decided we would during davening.

Sichas Tes-Vov Shevat, 5739



Bentching Gomel

The bracha that a person says when Hashem saves him from a dangerous situation is called Birchas Hagomel.

This bracha is said during Kriyas HaTorah. There are four times when a person needs to bentch Gomel:

1) If someone was saved from a serious illness
2) Someone who comes out of prison
3) Someone who crossed the ocean
4) Someone who crossed the desert

If a person has to bentch Gomel, there are other things he should do as well!

The Rebbe told someone in a letter (Zos Chanukah 5727) that in the Alter Rebbe’s Shulchan Aruch, it says that right away, even before bentching Gomel, they should say the parsha of the Korban Todah. (As long as it is during the day, since the Korban Todah could only be brought during the daytime.)

Someone who has to bentch Gomel should also give tzedakah to help the community. The Rebbe says that though people haven’t always done this, it is a good idea to start this minhag!

As the Alter Rebbe wrote in a letter when he came out of prison, when Hashem does a chesed to a person, it should make the person feel humble — and he can show that he is humble when he does chesed to others.

לעילוי נשמת הרה״ח ר׳ דניאל יצחק ע״ה בן ר׳ אפרים שי׳ מאסקאוויץ
שליח כ"ק אדמו"ר נשיא דורנו למדינת אילינוי



What Will the World Be Like?

Nowadays when we do a mitzvah, we need to remember to do it, remember the halachos, overcome our Yetzer Hara, and ignore what the world says about it.

When Moshiach comes, it will be much easier, it will come naturally! Everything in the world will remind us to do the mitzvos right, there will be no Yetzer Hara, and the goyim will help us to serve Hashem!

Migolah L’Geulah p. 223

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